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Improve customer loyalty and encourage re-orders

Next up in our run of expert ecommerce tips is all about improving customer loyalty. While a lot of emphasis is placed on the acquisition of new customers, what about those who have already bought from you? Of course it's important to expand your audience and encourage new buyers, but once someone has already engaged with your services and received a good shopping experience, you're already halfway to their next purchase!

Think of your own online shopping habits. You probably have preferred retailers that you'll go to first when looking for a specific product – so why not become that for your customers? Getting someone to buy from you again is much easier than capturing a brand new shopper, so here are some tips to help you do just that!

Ecommerce tips for customer re-engagement

First of all, it always makes sense to build a proper strategy. Don't just dive in blindly and hope for results – you'll have more chance of success if you think, monitor, analyse and adapt your approach as you go.

One of the best ways to target your customers is to profile them. Create a database of their shopping habits, order frequency, birthdays and any contact preferences they’ve stated. You should also be offering a ‘sign up’ option for a newsletter/mailing list every time a new (or returning) buyer makes a purchase – one quick tick of a box and you have an open platform to encourage re-orders through selected offers and promotions.

Here are a few more tips to help you encourage re-orders and improve loyalty:

    1. Create a 'fast-pass'– when a new customer places an order, send them an immediate offer that makes them feel like a VIP. A ‘fast-pass’ to news about upcoming products can be a great way of doing this, offering them the chance to be the first to hear about them, which can even be before they go live on the website.
    2. ‘Thank you’ emails– welcome your new buyer with a thank you email and perhaps a small token of gratitude for their purchase. This could be a small discount or a reduced delivery offer, and you can make it time-sensitive too, encouraging a faster re-order and helping to minimise the impact on your bottom line.
    3. Newsletters– judging frequency is essential if you’re sending out newsletters to subscribers, but once a week is often about the right amount. Show off your new products or tailor your content to a few different customer personas – grouping buyers into slightly different audiences is a great way to improve loyalty and personalise marketing materials.
    4. ‘You may also like...’– via email, you can send out a few ideas for other items the buyer might like, based on their first (and any subsequent) purchase. It’s also effective because it can encourage a click-through to your website, where they may also be attracted to other products you’re promoting or offering online.
    5. Free samples– if you’re a retailer in a market such as cosmetics or food, look at the possibility of sending out a small free sample to new buyers to encourage another order.
    6. ‘We miss you!’– set a trigger-point for contacting a past customer once a certain time has elapsed since their last order. Tell them you miss them, and send them a discount code or similar to try and draw them back in.
    7. Birthdays– you can also send a discount or free postage offer to buyers when their birthday’s approaching too.
    8. Let’s get physical– don’t forget the power of paper (or card). Electronic communications are all well and good, but mix it up occasionally with a targeted campaign with some physical collateral. A time-sensitive offer code on a small postcard delivered through the door can work wonders.

So as you can see, collating a database and sending regular communications and promotions can be a great way of re-engaging buyers and encouraging them to place their next order – but do keep any eye on your take-up rates and how this affects your profits. It can be hard to resist a bargain or a treat, so use these wisely to help improve customer loyalty and imprint your brand on their brain!

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